Marcel Dzama has gained deserved fame for his imaginative drawings and watercolours which have been exhibited internationally and entered the mainstream consciousness with their appearance on the cover of Beck‘s 2005 album Guero. Yet an exhibition of new works at the Timothy Taylor Gallery in London shows that his talents also stretch into other areas, including filmmaking.
The exhibition sees the first proper showing of his film The Lotus Eaters (a rough cut was screened at MoMA in New York last year), a black-and-white, silent movie set to music, which tells the story of an artist driven insane by the death of his wife. The film features the bizarre cast of characters that appear in his drawings, where bears, bats and animal-human hybrids are seen alongside femme fatales, cowboys and superheroes. And, as with his drawings, it seems to have sprung from an earlier era, with Dzama acknowledging the influence of Luis Buñuel‘s classic surrealist film Un Chien Andalou (1929), infamous for its shocking footage of a woman’s eye being sliced with a razorblade.
The Lotus Eaters is not Dzama’s first foray into film-making however; “I’ve been making films since I was a kid,” he comments. “I had a Fisher Price Pixel Vision camera that I got when I was 12. The first thing I remember filming was a stop-motion animation with creatures I had made out of plasticine.” More recently, he also collaborated with Spike Jonze, a friend of the artist, to create the film The Sad Ghost, a Frankenstein-esque tale about an artist who is killed by a creature he has created.
Dzama, who is prolific in his output of work, makes good use of the large amount of space at Timothy Taylor’s two galleries, and, alongside the film, offers visitors the chance to see new drawings and paintings, as well as sculptures and photo-collages. Whether you are new to his work or a fan, it is well worth a visit.
Marcel Dzama: Moving Pictures is at Timothy Taylor Gallery, 21 & 24 Dering Street, London until April 13.